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The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

First Hands Solutions’ Blak Mar­kets will be held at La Per­ouse on Novem­ber 5 and at Baranga­roo on Septem­ber 24 and De­cem­ber 3. More: blak­mar­kets.com; vis­itnsw.com/things-todo/abo­rig­i­nal-cul­ture. • bundy­i­cul­ture.com.au • wa­jaanayaam.com.au • un­kya.com uses, too. Its volatile bark can cre­ate an in­stant fire; its wood can be hewn into a ca­noe or a coola­mon to carry food or wa­ter or a baby; its nee­dles have medic­i­nal value. Landy-Ariel moves to a nearby lo­man­dra bush. “The coun­cil loves th­ese,” she says. “See? They’ve planted them ev­ery­where.” She plucks two of its fronds and we nib­ble on their bases, re­leas­ing a re­fresh­ing burst of liq­uid. You can get a good mouth­ful from the thicker ones, I’m told, and they are just like cel­ery, re­hy­drat­ing on a hot day.

The con­nec­tion be­tween Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple and the land is in­tri­cate. When a baby is born, they are given as their totem some­thing from na­ture that can be seen when they ap­pear. Landy-Ariel’s mother had seaweed and a man­grove pod; an aunty has the peri­win­kle.

Sadly, Landy-Ariel wasn’t given one and thank­fully I don’t have as a totem the red gre­vil­lea flower. One is not al­lowed to eat one’s totem, and Landy-Ariel is now shak­ing its nec­tar into my hand. I lick my palm; it tastes like per­fumed syrup.

Be­hind Cad­man’s Cot­tage stand the colo­nial build­ings con­structed from the Gadi­gal peo­ple’s sand­stone. Nearby, in a build­ing on Ar­gyle Street, we can see how pieces of shell from Abo­rig­i­nal mid­dens were used in the mor­tar bind­ing to­gether con­vict-made bricks.

“The nat­u­ral flora and fauna was de­stroyed, the totems were gone,” Landy-Ariel says of the pe­riod. “Just the feel­ing of dis­place­ment, the whole world you’ve grown up with, the sa­cred knowl­edge ... gone. I think you would feel quite lost.”

But there’s soft­ness in her voice, and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion at the heart of th­ese tours. Il­lus­trat­ing this sen­ti­ment, Landy-Ariel tells me that most Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple be­lieve the an­ces­tors emerged from the Mirra­booka, the Milky Way, “shed­ding colour, swiz­zing it up into the environment, plac­ing it in the form we see it in to­day”.

She in­structs me to place my ochre-striped hand in the

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